Vulture breeding centre at CNP to close down

Vulture breeding centre at CNP to close down
Sun, 17 April 2022

By Narayan Adhikari Rising Nepal

 Chitwan, April 17 (RSS): The vulture breeding centre at Chitwan National Park (CNP) is to shut down. The centre established in 2008 is closing down in view of the increasing number of vultures in the wild and the breeding not becoming impactful at the centre, the park officials said.    

So far 18 vulture chicks have hatched and grown at the centre. Now the vulture breeding programme would be done at the Jatayu Restaurant (vulture restaurant) centring on vulture in the nature concept as the results at the centre were minimal compared to the government's investment over a period of 14 years.    

CNP chief conservation officer Hari Bhadra Acharya said there are only 10 vultures at the breeding centre. They were transferred to the Jatayu Restaurant at Pithauli in Nawalparasi some time back. These birds will be released into the wild after keeping them in cages at the restaurant.    

After the transfer of the 10 vultures from the centre to the Jatayu restaurant, the centre at Kasara will close down after 14 years of operation. It will be closed down by coming July.    

Although the vultures laid eggs they could not hatch. The breeding of vultures in the wild has been emphasized after it was seen to be more effective than the breeding done artificially at the centre.    

The centre was established in 2008 and the vultures there started laying eggs only in 2014. In the first five years, only one egg was hatched. Acharya said not a single chick hatched from eight eggs in 2015.    

Although nine chicks were hatched from 15 eggs in 2016, one chick died. Six chicks were hatched from 21 eggs in 2017 while two chicks were hatched from 20 eggs in 2018. Not a single chick has been hatched since then.    

Even though 19 eggs were laid in 2019 and 14 eggs in 2020, hatching was not successful. Twelve eggs were laid last year, but none hatched.    

Forty-nine vultures including those brought from outside and those hatched at the centre have been released in the wild so far. The vultures were first released in the wild in 2017. Six were released in the first year, 12 in 2018, 13 in 2019 and 18 vultures were released this year.    

Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Dr Ram Chandra Kandel said emphasis has been given to vulture conservation in the wild instead of at the centre in recent years as the breeding in nature has yielded better results and the number of vultures to has been increasing.    

According to him, the Department is focused on conserving the vultures in the wild by better managing the Jatayu Restaurant.